The paralegal studies program at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College aims to set the standard for excellence in liberal arts-based, career oriented education. The paralegal studies program is both academically and technologically progressive and built around a personal and supportive environment.
We offer a bachelor’s degree and an associate degree in paralegal studies for those students seeking a college degree, and a post-baccalaureate paralegal certification program for students already holding a baccalaureate degree. All of the paralegal studies programs are offered through our flexible distance education program, Woods Online. However, while the paralegal studies program originates in the distance offerings, it is not 100% online.
This program is approved by the American Bar Association (ABA) and this approval process requires that ten (10) hours of legal specialty courses are taken in a traditional (face-to-face) format.
American Bar Association Approval
The approval of the American Bar Association is a designation that is recognized by members of the legal community as an indicator of quality and is respected by leaders in the field of paralegal education. The Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College Paralegal program is the only ABA approved program in West Central Indiana/East Central Illinois and is only one of three ABA approved programs in the State of Indiana. ABA Approval requires that ten (10) hours of legal specialty courses be taken in traditional (face-to-face) format.
Please contact the program coordinator for detailed information and meeting dates.
What is a Paralegal?
The Paralegal career continues to be one of the most prolific professions in today’s work force and through 2018. Paralegals work side by side with lawyers and other legal professionals. Working under the supervision of an attorney, paralegals draft documents and prepare them for filing, perform legal research, assist the attorney with trial preparation, and work with clients.
- A campus organization called Indiana Legal Assistants at the Woods (InLAW) provides social and professional activities for majors and others interested in law.
- SMWC paralegal studies students host the Indiana Court of Appeals and area high school students for Law Day every spring. The Law Day program was named "Outstanding Law Day Program for 1998" by the American Bar Association. It remains the only college program to receive this award.
- Students obtain actual work experience with various entities when they participate in the mentor program and in the practicum. Paralegal internships are also available.
- Students are encouraged to enter state and national paralegal writing and research competitions (our students win, too!).
- All majors receive training in Westlaw; a computer assisted legal research system.
- The honor society, Lambda Epsilon Chi (LEX) has a chapter on campus.
- Seniors participate in a supervised practicum, which requires a minimum of 150 hours of work in a legal setting.
- Students compile a working portfolio to highlight their accomplishments and show the paralegal skills they've built while at The Woods.
The paralegal studies program incorporates the Core Competencies identified by the American Association for Paralegal Education (AAfPE), to which SMWC is an Institutional member in good standing. Additionally, the coordinator of the paralegal program at The Woods is a past president of the AAfPE.
The paralegal studies program at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College was named the top online paralegal studies program in the United States by Edudemic. However, our program is not a 100% online program. We require students to take 10 credit hours of traditional (face-to-face) instruction to comply with the program approval by the American Bar Association (ABA). Therefore, we have asked Edudemic to retract the award.
Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College’s paralegal studies program aims to set the standard of excellence in liberal arts-based, career-oriented education that is both academically and technologically progressive within a personal, supportive environment. To achieve its educational mission, the paralegal studies program provides for the study and exchange of ideas and for the acquisition of career skills so that students think and communicate with greater awareness of themselves and others, gain valuable tools for employment, and develop resources for future opportunities.